Separatists in Catalonia have emerged victorious in a regional election they say will lead to them claiming the region independent from Spain.
According to ABC.net.au, with 97 percent votes accounted for, secessionist parties were on their way to acquire 72 out of 135 seats – this included the central secessionist group Junts Pel Si (Together for Yes) that were on their way to acquire 62 seats, and the leftist CUP party that would receive another 10 seats. “We have made history, now we will make a state”, the party tweeted. “We have a democratic mandate for independence,” Oriol Junqueras said. Raúl Romeva said, “No one can say we do not have a democratic mandate.”
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According to the Spain Report, the results caused a split among Spanish politicians from several parties. This year, Junts Pel Si and CUP together won 1.95 million votes – securing 72 seats – as compared to the CiU, ERC (which became Junts Pel Si this year) and the CUP securing an overall number of 1.74 million votes in 2012, assuring them 74 seats. Although this year the combined forces in support of independence received more votes, there were lesser seats. Two-thirds majority in the Catalan regional parliament would be 89 seats, while three fourths would be 101 seats, out of a total of 135 seats. While the pro-independence parties have been unable to come close to those numbers, reaching these marks would have helped them demand negotiations with Madrid.
Albert Rivera’s Ciudadanos, which witnessed an upsurge in the number of votes since 2012 – from 9 seats back then to 25 seats this year – wants Mas gone. Inés Arrimada, their candidate in the Catalan elections and the sole woman in the race, said that Artur Mas should resign.
“A majority of Catalans have turned their back on Artur Mas,” Arrimada said. “He can only do one thing: resign and go home. After this result, we ask for new regional elections with parties and manifestos that Catalans can choose freely.” Support for independence also came from Barcelona football club’s former coach, Pep Guardiola. Gerard Pique, the football club’s defender, said on Facebook he had voted “on a historic and important day.”
Albert Llorent, a taxi driver from Barcelona, was also delighted over the results. “What I think, what I feel, is that I belong to the best possible nation in the world. Long live Catalonia,” he said.
Alex Donate, a voter, said, “Without independence, nothing will change. I love Spain, but I think independence will be good for us.”
However, the idea of independence also saw some opposition. Francisco Serrano, a former laborer in the Barcelona suburb of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, said, “That guy is a liar. Things would get worse.”
Moncloa, the Spanish Prime Minister’s office, did not comment on the outcome Sunday night, saying, “Maybe tomorrow, but there’s nothing in the agenda for now.” As reported by RT, European Union (EU) leaders say that the new Catalan state would not be a part of the EU, with British Prime Minister David Cameron emphasizing, “It has to take its place at the back of the queue behind those other countries that are applying to become members of the European Union.”
As Mas cast his vote Sunday, he said, “Today is a great win for democracy in Catalonia. We have surpassed all the obstacles placed by the Spanish government. Now, Catalonia faces its own destiny. This has to be a win-win issue. It is not only a matter for Catalonia, it is also a matter for Spain and a matter for the whole European Union.”
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